July 7, 2022

Tinubu’s Vice And The Power Battle Of Four Champions

5 min read

The emergence of Asiwaju Ahmad Bola Tinubu as the APC presidential flag-bearer in the June 7th – 8th APC special convention (Presidential Primary election) has come with a plethora of thoughts and perceptions as to who will become his vice in the race. The choice seems daunting but also very simple.

Daunting, because a mistake in the choice will have a negative consequential effect on the party’s chances of winning the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 28th, 2023. Simple, because choosing the best and considering certain parameters will give the party an easy as well as overwhelming victory. Asiwaju is from the south. Specifically, the south-west, whereby by convention and tradition, his vice should come from the north, although in an interview when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa, he made it clear that the choice of his vice president is in his pocketbook! He should be guided as to the intricacies of making a wrong choice! His choice may mar or make his “lifetime ambition,” as he rightly put it, a reality or a mere fiction.

In the politics of Nigeria, the North has always played a significant role in determining who assumes political office due largely to its population. In 1999, it was the North that agreed to the coming of Obasanjo for fairness then, having seen the annulment of the Abiola presidency-this is almost repeated as 12 of the 14 APC northern governors insisted on power shift to the south even when they could manupulate and have their way since the APC constitution did not oblige rotation. 

The North’s regional competitiveness in power play

The splitting of the country into six had succeeded in making the country’s politics be along those six lines. The north had three of the six, whereas the south had three. The northern lines are: central, west, and east, with each having its own uniqueness. As of 2019, the north east has 9.9 million registered voters, the north central has 10.5 million, and the north west has 18.5 million registered voters, nearly matching the north east and north central combined! It is for this reason that the Nigerian political trajectory cannot be done in isolation from the north-east. The APC overwhelmingly won its 2015 election simply because a north westerner was standing against a south southerner. In 2015, it was all north but an easterner versus a westerner. Hence, the north-west can’t easily be out of this race!

Even within the north west, preference is made in terms of population, total number of registered voters, historical contribution to APC and prospects of sustainability in the future!

Tinubu’s Vice President versus 2023 electoral victory

A number of names have circulated in the media, limiting Tinubu’s options; however, I will compare each to the possibility of Tinubu winning the 2023 election.

1. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje: current governor of Kano state for the second term. He has been a grassroots politician for over 4 decades, a deputy governor for 2 terms (almost 2 decades)-he has been virtually in active politics in Kano since 1999. Prior to 1999, Ganduje had been in politics since the second republic when he joined NPN and contested. At the return of military rule, he had held several positions at the federal level until 1994 when he became Commissioner of Works and Housing with the Kano state government. Rising from a local government administrator to a commissioner at state level to a deputy governor and becoming a governor within some 3 decades means a lot. It explains how one must have appreciated the political, economic, and social matrix of the society or state he battles politics in! He had mastered the art and science of politics going through history and had the tendency to manage it against 2023 as he did in the history of his political sojourn. Coming from a state that has the highest number of registered voters and viewing to his political versatility, he is considered most suitable as Tinubu’s vice for standing electoral value against all those he has peered in the quest.

2. Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, Although he is more of a private sector with less knowledge of politics, Nasir has risen to make significant changes in the way politics and governance are operated in Kaduna state. Although one can’t compare his greatness in politics with Ganduje, one must give it to him that he believed even if it went against people’s view. He joined politics in 1999, though not a politician but more of a technocrat, emerging as the pioneered chairman of Berua for Public Enterprises-BPE, an agency the Obasanjo led presidency established to privatise and commercialise government owned businesses. He was engaged as FCT minister and was successful in giving Abuja the current good look it has. In a technical sense, El-Rufai’s political journey is only less than a decade old. Compared to his fellows in Kano, who have almost 40 years of on-the-job experience and expertise. His governance style has been heavily criticised in southern Kaduna, a Christian-dominated region that has repeatedly called for CAN intervention; some political analysts believe that this minor squabble with the Christians may cause him to lose Tinibu’s vice because Christians are regarded as having significant electoral value, particularly in his state.

3. Atiku Bagudu: Although he is considered a new breed in politics and gentry with no basis in grass-root politics, Atiku has treversed the northern political elites to have emerged as Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, which has given him a lot of political relevance and influence. The recent events in his state of losing APC party bigwigs is indeed a major setback to his ability to emerge as Tinubu’s vice couple with low electoral value. is taken by
Kashim Shettima, a two-term governor of Borno state and a serving senator from Borno. Kashim’s name surfaced to many in 2011 when he participated in the second primary election that brought him to the Guber race 2011. After the death of Gubio, whose life was cut short by gunmen. He had governed Borno for 8 years at a time when Boko Haram was at its peak. He is also less of a grass-root politician but is considered a loyal supporter of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu like Ganduje. Borno is also considered of lesser electoral value to Kano, even though they are good at coming up with block votes.

The choice among the four and justification

On the final lap of this submission, Tinubu may not have a problem choosing a Muslim Northern based on electoral value! No Christian sees Tinubu as an Islamiser; his major mentees are Christians, including the vice president, and his wife, Oluremi Tinubu, is a pastor; thus, his only task is to garner and canvass northern votes. In the early analysis, Asiwaju will win 90% of the South. This is compared to his runner-up, Atiku, who can hardly have 70% in any of the geopolitical zones.

As a result, the election of Ganduje as Vice President will provide Tinubu with electoral value, as he will win both rural and urban Kano, as seen in 2015 and 2019.

No matter how it will appear, ours is to predict based on facts, but time is the best of judges in moments of life.

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